Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan in Today’s Political Atmosphere BY Elijah The Relevance and Significance of Leviathan in Contemporary Democracy In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Bachelor of Arts Major in Classical Philosophy Seem. Leo Jay D. R. Salvatore 2013 Chapter 1 Introduction Background of the study If not democracy then what? “… A believer in democracy knows that every person has within him some sort of worth, whether it be the ability to lead a nation or the talent to make a happy home.
A democrat believes that the seeds of worth in every person should have a hence to grow into full flower Democracy is also an ideal of government. A democratic government is designed to give everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the words of Lincoln, it is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. All these ideas are really ideals. They have not been realized fully in any part of the world. But they are the ideals that democratic people everywhere are striving to “Man is by nature a political Also, man is basically a social being. Tempo, 2005 P 45) “A social instinct is implanted in all men by Aristotle once said that life is about realizing actuality- reaching one’s full potential which will bring him happiness. [iv] Also, according to Existentialists, man is a project that needs to be actualities by discovering his potentials in a community. Moreover, humans are political animals, who can realize their potential only in the communal setting- in society. Thus, social groups are essential to a person’s existence.
From his group he gradually acquires his basic social identity. He develops a sense of belonging and identification with other people. (Apollonian & Mendoza, 2008. P. 117) Moreover, man is political being in a society and the social nature of man calls for active involvement in the political life of the nation. (Megalith, 1996. P. 127) It is politics that pervades all our activities and encircles man today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter, how much one tries. V] However, in the perspective of Hobbes, “all men are by nature are provided of notable multiplying glasses- that is, their passions and self-love- through which every little payment appears a great grievance, but are destitute of those prospective glasses- namely, moral and civil science- to see afar off the miseries that hang over them and cannot without such payments be avoided. “(Leviathan xix: 152) Consequently, human beings are naturally relentless egoists. Mingled, 2009) He also views man as by nature equal, that there is in man the equality of ability and of hope. The former speaks of men as equal in the abilities of body and mind while the latter tells of men as may desire the same thing which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies ; and in the way to their end endeavor to destroy or subdue one another. (Leviathan xviii: 104-105) Thus, n every society without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man against every man.
Nature has made men so equal in the faculties of the body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet, when all is figured together, the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he. Thus, from this equality rises equality of hope in the attainment of our ends and desires.
Moreover, if any two men or more desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end, which is principally endeavor to destroy or subdue one another. [vii] Consequently, the nature of man is always to desire what is good and yet men end up attaining the apparent good which eventually will startle war. Thus, there is always fear deep within that hinders men to trust others in such a way that everyone becomes their enemies.
Covenants are necessary in order to obviate men from going jack to their state of nature. It is actually towards and promoting a Just and humane society because ‘For where no covenant hath preceded, there hath no right been transferred, and every man has right to everything; and consequently, no action can be unjust. But when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust, is Just. [viii] Moreover, the nature of Justice consistent in keeping of valid covenants; but the validity of covenants begins not but with the constitution of a civil rower sufficient to compel men to keep them, and then it is also that propriety begins… As Justice dependent on antecedent covenant. [ix] Moreover, it is TN covenant that determines the morality of an action by which Justice emanates. “Let him therefore consider with himself- when taking a Journey he arms himself and seeks to go well accompanied, when going to sleep he locks his doors, when even in his house he locks his chest… [x] In tribal conditions people were closely bound by ties of blood. (Mercado, 2006) At that time there were no states or legal relationships which led to different rivalries ND factions among the group or society. Thus, tribes have no bureaucracy, have no public architecture to designate a place of authority. (Mercado, 2006 p. 177) The status of tribe leads to the making of a chiefdom. We find this type in the data system of Mindanao. Its government is hereditary. In spite of its growing complexity, the tribe has the beginnings of a bureaucracy where conflicts are centrally solved.
And when the society based on law and the state first arose, people were sharply divided between masters and slaves, rulers and ruled. Slave society with its private property set people against one another. Some individuals began to oppress and exploit others. (Aspirin, 2010) Finally, the status of chiefdom leads to the formation of state. The society has become complex where social inequalities exist. Society is a group of people who engage in cooperative behavior for the sake of a common goal. [xi] It is a moral union of men for the purpose of attaining a common end. Opinion: 172) It is based on man’s being-in-the-world, it is in a constant process of development. [xii] In order to exist, societies identify and maintain focus on shared goals[xiii] and that is survival and safety as its fundamental purpose. Xiv] However, when there is no power to keep the society work together, the people will start to live on their own with an egoistic attitude that is in always in competition with others, and the only way to escape from the natural condition which knew only the struggle of all against all, people concluded a social contract. [xv] ‘… F there be no power erected, or not great enough for our security, every man will, and may, lawfully rely on his own strength and art, for caution against all other men. ‘[xvi] The only way to erect such a common power as may be able to defend them from he invasion of foreigners and the injuries of one another is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men that may reduce all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one will; which is as much as to say, to appoint one man or assembly of men to bear their person and therein submit their wills everyone to his will, and their Judgments to his Judgment.
This, done, the multitude so united in one person is called the Leviathan, a commonwealth, in Latin civvies. [xvii] The state exists only as a meaner of self-preservation for its citizens. (Mingled, 2009) Thus, the original purpose of the government is to protect life and property to make citizens safe from violence, to insure domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, securing the blessings of liberty, establishing Justice, and promoting the general welfare. “The prime duty of Government is to serve and to protect the people.
The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal military or civil service. (The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987. Art. II. CE. 4) Humanity’s natural condition is a state of perpetual war, fear and amorality, and that only government can hold a society together. ) However, this will only take place through the presence to a covenant. Thomas Hobbes’ Justice is relative to covenant because where these is no covenant, there will be none to determine the action whether it is Just or unjust.
Thomas Hobbes came up with his idea of the state of nature by determining what may happen if government seize to exist. Hobbes mentioned that men will have the right to everything, even to another’s body because there is none to govern people. It is evident that political institution is of crucial importance to any society regardless of the country that man belongs because it quickly affects the social lives of every people. As political influence grows, it is becoming the primary institution for dealing with social and moral problems.
Politics and morals are intimately related. (Megalith, 1996. P 128) What was political was also moral and what was morally wrong could never be politically right. [xviii] Thus, when government fails to function properly, it is the whole society problem. For many years, the Philippines is under a democratic form of government and any event and changes had transpired for the past years, the ups and downs of the economic status affecting the basic commodities of the people, the different laws implemented like that of R.
H. Law and the demolition of government traditional pork barrel, the coming of different investors from different places around the world, the price hike of gases, the value of peso that skyrockets and goes down below in the world market, and the likes. These different events and changes that transpired in Philippine history showcased the kind of democracy that has been operating in the country. In democracy, the power lies with the people.
However, it is no “utopia”[xix] in which men enjoy the fullness of what society functions on man, assert their rights and consume the goods and services of a productive economy of the country. A loyalist of the Marco’s’ regime when ask of the status quo of the political situation will give you a grim, miserable, and hopeless picture of the political set-up today. But if a diehard Aquinas supporter is asked, he will give you all the bright and optimistic assessment of the political picture. However, today, what is happening in our country has raised many questions about the democratic form of governance.
Why is it that despite the fact that men are in a democratic form of government, wars, like that of Bandwagons-lilacs in Mindanao against the Armies of the Philippines which remain unsettled for many years under the supremacy of the different president of the Philippines and the dispute against the Malaysian government over the unsettled claims of the Saba that costs many lives of Filipino, and different crimes and mischievous acts are still prevalent. The way coalition politics has created political instability today and various big and small parties are indulging in different combinations as per their own personal interests.
Because of this many people feel that politicians are totally unscrupulous and only to promote their own interests, and do not care for the country. The Philippines, for many years of being under a democratic form of government, has become well known for its abundance in natural resources, natural beauty, great personalities, and the many good and positive qualities that are in it. Today, Philippines’ economy is fast-accelerating with the aid of foreign investors and different private sectors. However, despite the fact that people are under this kind of government, it is clear that crimes remain prevalent.
It is because of this that so much freedom that is given much emphasis on this kind of governance that deterrent “barbaric”[xx] crimes remain to be manumitted everywhere. Why is that? Hobbes wrote about the freedom that citizens must possess, the liberty of the subject lies only in those things which, in regulating their actions, the sovereign has permitted: such as is the liberty to buy and sell and otherwise contract with one another; to choose their own abode, their own diet, their own trade of life, and institute their children as they themselves think fir; and the like. ‘ (Leviathan xix p. 3) Thus, this shows that all others are governed by the laws constituted by the government. However, with the laws we have, does it show that our laws superficial? Are laws not working any longer in this kind of democratic governance? Is it enough that the legislatures make laws without proper implementation and exerting power over the people in order to properly impose the laws? Are laws powerless over the people in order for it to be obeyed, or is it Just because people, in this kind of governance, exercise exceedingly their freedom that nothing else compel people to obey as such? How much freedom must a citizen surrender in government?
Why is it that despite the fact that after having attained the kind of governance that people have always wanted during the Marco’s’ time is that people are continuously becoming unscrupulous? What kind of governance do people really need in order to keep Justice at work? Does the Justice system really work or it remains to be ideal and unattainable? Does it calls for a ruler, a Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, in order to keep justice at work amongst men or are we happy with the kind of governance we have right now? Or should there be a common power set over with right and force sufficient to compel performance… Cause the bonds of words are too weak to bridle men’s ambition, avarice, anger, and other passions without fear of some coercive power. ‘ (Leviathan xiv p. 1 1 5) Aristotle is very much displeased in a democracy as a form of government in which he presents a case of an extreme or tyrannical democracy. (Tuck, 2006. 178) According to Aristotle, wherever the laws were not supreme, there was room for ‘demagogues’ to ‘spring up’ and seize power, and the decrees of the multitude would supersede the laws, which ultimately results in a ‘sort of democracy which is to other democracies what tyranny is to other forms f monarchy. [xix] The Roman Republic from the third century BC is the clearest example of Aristotle idea of an extreme democracy. [xii] In that state, every piece of legislation could be changed by a decree passed by the majority vote in the Plebian Council, but the deliberative process was confined to the senate. [xiii] And it is this Roman model of extreme democracy, which Aristotle attacks, in which the ‘constitution had too high a degree of unity among its citizens. ‘[xiv] – in Hobbes’ term, a single will that Hobbes believed was in fact the only legitimate form of lattice association. Xv] If there were conflicts of interest among the citizens, Machiavelli and Hobbes said that the state regulates competition in order to achieve harmony. (Mercado, 2006 p. 180) In our political and social grounds, men act out of particular motives. Some do good for their own benefit. Some do good in order to be well-known. Some do good to preserve the self at the expense of others. Some do good so that others will applaud them. Moreover, people will to help because of some mercenary motives as Thomas Hobbes would say it. … For no man give but with intention of good to myself; because gift is voluntary; and of all voluntary acts, the object is to every man his own good; to which it men see they shall be trusted, there will be no beginning of benevolence or trust, nor consequently of mutual help, nor of reconciliation of one man to another; and therefore they are to remain still in the condition of For Hobbes, a Leviathan in a democratic form of government is apt and in demand for all its goals to be achieved.
What people actually need is a leviathan which will establish a covenant where people have to follow whatever may it takes so long as it ill be for the attainment of peace and security because he had an egocentric view of ‘man as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ‘ (Leviathan xiii p. 107) “Our own benefit, welfare or interest is the only thing that provides an ultimate motive or reason for acting. [xvii] Thomas Hobbes did not make Justice relative to power but reliant on covenant for man is totally egocentric. Hobbes wrote, “where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. (Leviathan xiv p. 108) What is in covenant can never be unjust because it is formulated towards the betterment of everyone, and event can do harm if men will not obey what is agreed upon. Hobbes spoke of Leviathan the state as an artificial man, the end result of the covenant of all the citizens. [xviii] Hobbes claims that the ruler and the ruled are one person (Mercado, 2006 p. 179) to whom all responsibility for social order and public welfare is entrusted. ‘ (Leviathan 17) Statement of the Problem The Leviathan is a vigorous and realistic argument for politics.
The word, taken from the name of a terrifying sea monster referred to in the Old Testament, is meant to suggest the frightening authority that Hobbes considers necessarily to compel obedience and order in human society. [xix] Hobbes characterized Leviathan as the immortal god to which we owe our peace and defense. [xx] For by this authority, he has the use of so much power and strength conferred on him that, by terror thereof, he is enabled to form the wills of them all to peace at home and mutual aid against their enemies abroad. Xii] And in him consists the essence of the commonwealth, which, to define it, is one person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end e may use the strength and meaner of them all as he shall think expedient for their peace and common defense. And he that carries this person is called ‘sovereign’ and said to have the sovereign power; and everyone besides, his subject. [xiii] The idea of Leviathan is to make laws well executed in which people are themselves maker and contributor of these laws under the form of social contract.
He wrote that in a well-ordered commonwealth not men should govern, but the laws. (Leviathan 17) In Hobbes’ work, he explained that if individuals within a society continually lived by their own self-interests and passion and if they do not let homeless be committed to the laws, they would continue to hurt each other and be stuck in a “state of war[xiii],” or chaos. If the members of society were made to live within certain bounds that made it impossible for them to harm each other, the members to society would be in a “state to peace. The only way to achieve this peaceful society, Hobbes explained, was for all members to unconditionally transfer all of their ability and will, to defend themselves to the power of a Leviathan, which calls for a kind of governance that will enact laws in order to make men at peace and y ‘reducing their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one will. ‘ (Leviathan xviii p. 142) Throughout history, it is seen that the stronger states try to impose their will on the weaker nations Just as in the case of the Philippines and of America, of China with regards to Sprats, and Borneo with the Sultans’ claim of Saba.
Only the fear of other strong nations prevents Philippine from doing so. Thus, Justice is seen here as confined to power and superiority. However, it should not be so because Justice must not be restricted only to those who are powerful and capable to refuse but to that which is in the covenant- to what has been agreed upon. It is also evident that Justice has been the main problem of the poor or to those who belong to the lower class in the society Just as in the case of the people during the people power revolution that were abused and maltreated and yet Justice was not given to them while the rich had theirs.
The Filipino mentality has been colored by different prejudices and biases. It is believed that Justice is only for those who have power and money. If one does not have money and power, Justice should not be granted. This is the system that has been working in the culture of Filipino people. The concept of Justice has been misunderstood and changed by the influential people in the society. However, with the mentality of the Filipino people of “behalf an,” the injustices remain to be manifested. People, despite the fact that corruptions are reported, continuously support the same politicians.
With this attitude of the Filipinos, we remain stagnant like that of Germany which is called carcinogenic. Thomas Hobbes implies to the idea of social contract to resolve the problem of injustices and discord. If social contract were not created, there would be no law. If there’s no law, the citizens would do as they please. If that’s the case, the citizens will disregard traffic sign, traffic light, restriction sign, and everything that is ‘bawl’ will have its way to be done. However, despite the fact that there are laws that restrict us from doing so, why then that people still do and violate as such?
Should we blame the laws, or the people behind all the executions of these laws on the constituents themselves? Or the kind of leaders we have? Thomas Hobbes is a great help in the social and political problems of Filipinos through the kind of governance he gave emphasis on. It is a Leviathan in government that is necessary in today’s status quo. The people must be compelled to follow laws under the power of the Leviathan in order to promote the welfare of every man that lives in a society. The problem all lies with the people who grant Justice, the leaders who govern the people, and the people who are under these leaders.
Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan works on the concept of covenant in relation to Justice will definitely give the solution with the problem of the Filipinos’ injustices that reigns for many years. Hobbes defined Justice as ‘keeping of covenant… Is a rule of reason by which we are forbidden to do anything destructive to our life, and consequently a law f nature. (Leviathan xv p. 122) What do people need is a Leviathan leader that can exercise interference with private transactions, such as buying, selling, trade, and the education of one’s children.
The Leviathan has got to be Judge of what opinions and doctrines are averse and what conducing to peace, and consequently on what occasions, how far, and what men are to be trusted withal in speaking to multitudes of people, and who shall examine the doctrines of all books before they be published. (Leviathan xviii p. 147) For the actions of men must proceed from their opinions, and n the well-governing of opinions consists the well-governing of men’s actions, in order to their peace and concord. Xvii] The ruler must even decide what is good and evil, and the religion of his subjects[xv] because varieties of religion will eventually lead men to wage war against each others. Mores, religion is a part of human politics, and teaches part of the duty which earthly kings and leaders require of their subjects (Leviathan xii p. 96) like a verse he borrowed from the apostles Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31 saying “quad tibia firer non visa, alter nee effects – what you could not have done to you, do not do to others. (Leviathan xiv p. 110) Man is rational yet self-interested. (Apollonian & Mendoza, 2008) Thus, Thomas Hobbes wanted us to be ruled by a Leviathan in order to relinquish men from their egoistic passions and to promote Justice and peace to everyone. Hobbes firmly believes that if there is only one set of beliefs that will govern us all, Justice and peace will never be far. Thomas Hobbes wanted men to realize that everything starts with laws until such time that the system that governs these laws be the system of our life too.
Hobbes as very particular when he speaks of covenant that would lead towards peace and justice, and it is only possible when people know how to cooperate with the leader(s) and the other way around and know how to abide laws which they themselves are the establisher and maker of such laws. Consequently, the researcher came up with questions while doing the thesis on hand. 1 . What is the Leviathan in Thomas Hobbes and what are its fundamental characteristics? 2. Is the Leviathan relevant and achievable and if so, how? 3.
What, if ever, are its most fundamental and significant strengths and weaknesses? Significance of the Study: It is clearly evident how our Justice system works in our society in our present time. Justice, the highest virtue, should define the right and dues of the people that must be accorded to them. Basically, people associate the state as one that promotes justice and security to its constituents. Indeed, there would be no Justice if there is no security, and there will be no security if there is no covenant that will govern society to ensure this.
This calls for a leader, a Leviathan, whose primordial duty is to make order possible amongst men. The so called “Leviathan” has more the obligation o endorse the welfare of every citizen by making everyone good followers of the law by making rewards and punishment in every act which is highly influenced by the materialistic view of Hobbes. With the covenant whereby an individual have to deal a piece of their right of nature in order to uphold collaboration between people, everyone can transfer their rights of nature between each other and which forms the basis of moral obligation.
Indeed, through covenants made, each must fulfill his duty without reference to others but in reference to the covenant to abstain from inactions and punishments that may be inherited and acquired. Each must give what it must and should by which no one should and could complain for everyone is in the same situation. [xvii] The researcher the idea of the Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes can be a great help in our dysfunctional and corrupt Justice system and to correct our value system in order to better of democracy.
If men would only submit their wills to the sovereign which produces a collective decision to make a particular will to a general will then peace and prosper for all will be possible. Gone will the days that people let go of crimes hat remain to unpunished because every good action would be rewarded and every evil action castigated Just as it is written in the bible that every good acts merits reward as every evil act merits punishment. This, accordingly, only be possible if men are compelled to act as they should. This philosophical research paper would play a significant role in our social and political life as moral and political beings.
It will guide us towards a Just and humane society by which everyone enjoys their rights and privileges and what is necessary as well as obligingly do their duties and obligations to provide the people in a society he aid in making our world the so called the best possible world as other philosophers would say it. Scope and Limitation The thesis will be tackling the necessity of a Leviathan in today’s generation. In order to do this it will cite the more recent political situation in the Philippines and their corresponding affect on the people in terms of Justice, wealth distribution, Job opportunities, education, etc.
The thesis on hand will be citing the value of the political contribution of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan in relation to our political arena as a democratic country. This thesis will deal more on the need for a Leviathan dervish as an option and alternative form of governance in today’s atmosphere. Thus, it will tackle on the virtue and character of the Leviathan given in the book of Thomas Hobbes. It will also discuss how this political paradigm better suited to our people and nation.
Also, this philosophical paper will indulge more the readers to the relative role of the leaders and the citizens in building up a better and Just world through covenant made which are they themselves establisher of this covenant. This philosophical paper uses Thomas Hobbes’ guiding principles which are found in his book Leviathan. The study will indulge more on the characteristics of the Leviathan as a sine qua non[xviii] to our contemporary times and how can it be a great help in dealing more on the political problems which affect the social status of men.
Finally, it will discuss on the merits and the flaws of the Leviathan paradigm visa- a-visa our present political status quo. Methodology The researcher used books, magazines, newspapers, and different resources from the internet that eventually led to the better understanding of the thesis on hand. The researcher came up with the idea of the “anthropological hermeneutics, ascription, and analysis of data” that served as his guide towards the finishing of this thesis . The researcher read varieties to articles, Journals, and books, and t interprets them in a way that everyone can comprehend it.
Moreover, the method used by the researcher is more of descriptive, analysis, and interpreting of ideas. Related Literature Megalith, Daniel. (1996) A Challenge and a Promise: Mahatma Sandhog’s Philosophy of Man and Life. M S Publications Trinitarian. In the book, by Megalith, he made mentioned of Shindig’s different philosophies that tackles everything about man. In the chapter four of the book, entitled Sandhog’s hilltop’s of life, one of the subtopics that were included was about man and politics. In it, he said that man is a political being and that we are all called to actively be involved in the political life of the nation.
Thus, a responsible participation in politics is an inescapable duty. Politics are part a part of our being. Man is ought to understand the national institutions and everything that transpires in the nation. Moreover, the political activities form an important part of one’s day to day life. It affects our social stability and moral life. Politics affects our way of living, our beliefs, and our environment. Undeniably, man today is so much caught up in the political machine that service of the people is impossible without taking part in politics.
From here, the author saw Gandhi as a politician and regarded political activity as a part of the effort of mimosa or a stage in my Journey to the land of eternal freedom and peace, and he regarded himself as a politician trying to be a saint. This book shows how Sandhog’s philosophy made a reconciliation between politics and man- that politics is an essential part in man by which politics are always in the service of man in order to attain mimosa – the eternal bliss. It is by meaner of politics that man arrives at truth because truth requires service of one’s fellowmen.
In relation, Megalith made used of the tenets of Gandhi to show how politics necessarily affects our social lives. If the government treat people with what is due and in accordance to what must be given to each and everyone, then there will be social stability, a peace. There will be no more strikes, rallies, and the likes. The book wanted to elucidate the importance of laws in politics and society by which it leads everyone to a peaceful world. Cruz, Alfred. (5, September 2013) The Philippine Star. Breakthrough; Justice not